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The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) Celebrates Two Decades of the DC Language Access Act, Empowering Voiceless Residents Hindered by Language Barriers

Monday, April 15, 2024





April 15, 2024


James Yu (OHR) - (202) 227-1681; [email protected]

Ellie Sung (OHR) - (202) 727-6407; [email protected]

The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) Celebrates Two Decades of the DC Language Access Act, Empowering Voiceless Residents Hindered by Language Barriers

OHR to commemorate the Act's impact and commitment to equitable access on April 24

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Office of Human Rights (OHR) is excited to announce the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the DC Language Access Act. This landmark legislation has significantly shaped the District of Columbia into a more inclusive city by mandating that all DC Government agencies provide translation and interpretation services at no cost, eliminating language-based discrimination.


“The DC Language Access Act reflects our city’s unwavering commitment to equality and upholds our belief that language should never be an obstacle to justice, healthcare, education, housing, or any other vital public services,” said OHR Interim Director Kenneth Saunders.


For over two decades, the Act has served as a cornerstone in breaking down barriers and ensuring equitable access to vital government services for individuals with limited or non-English proficiency (LEP/NEP). OHR has been entrusted with the oversight of this crucial legislation since its enactment, taking a proactive role in its implementation and enforcement. Under OHR’s stewardship, the Language Access Act’s compliance has been rigorously maintained through comprehensive training, systemic assessments, and thorough investigations into complaints related to language access issues. Additionally, OHR has fostered strategic partnerships with the Mayor’s constituent offices, community organizations, and advocacy groups to proactively address challenges faced by LEP/NEP constituents in the District.


“The DC Language Access At has pioneered groundbreaking policies, setting a standard of excellence for jurisdictions nationwide. As we celebrate its 20th anniversary, we are reaffirming our commitment to collaborate with stakeholders to help provide fair opportunities for voiceless residents hindered by language barriers,” said Rosa Carrillo, Language Access Program Director at OHR.


To celebrate this momentous anniversary, OHR is hosting a special event on April 24, 2024, at Old Council Chambers in Marion S. Barry Jr, Building. The event will bring together DC Government agencies, language access advocates, and community leaders to reflect on the impact of the Language Access Act over the past two decades and discuss the path forward for continued progress. The celebration will feature panel discussions and an award ceremony to honor the contributions of individuals and agencies in advancing language access.


For further details about the event and registration, visit here or contact Laura Gonzalez at [email protected]. In-depth information and resources regarding the DC Language Access Act can be found through the OHR Language Access Information Portal.



About the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights

The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity, and protect human rights for persons who live in, work, or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.